Fun With Wills – Charles Vance Millar
People don’t seem to have as much fun with their wills these days: not as much as they used to.
Take Charles Vance Millar, who died on October 31, 1926. Charles, a lawyer, left a Will in which he gave a share in the Ontario Jockey Club to opponents of gambling, and one to a competitor of the Ontario Jockey Club.
In another provision, Charles left shares of the O’Keefe Brewery Company to each Protestant minister and to each Orange Lodge in Ontario: staunch champions of the temperance movement.
In another provision, he left a life interest in a vacation home to three friends who deeply disliked each other.
In yet another provision, he left the residue of his estate to the woman “who has … given birth in Toronto to the greatest number of children” at the end of ten years from his death. This last clause set off “The Great Stork Derby” in Toronto. Four women shared the prize, having nine children each. (It is not known how many were left out of the money with only eight. A few disappointed contestants were also kept out of the chips as some of their children were illegitimate, and not considered to fall within the definition of “children”.)
By his own admission, Charles’ Will was unusual. The Will opens with the clause:
“This Will is necessarily uncommon and capricious because I have no dependents or near relations and no duty rests upon me to leave any property at my death and what I do leave is proof of my folly in gathering and retaining more than I required in my lifetime.”
Millar’s will set off significant litigation, with proceedings arising in relation to most of the clauses.